Shake of the head: what country is P. Wardell living in?

Chemainus – I hesitate to carry this letter exchange with P. Wardell any further but once again the writer has impugned my character and so I would like to set the record straight. P. Wardell seems to base the whole letter on a definition of right wing politics which was found in Wikipedia. That is a very dangerous assumption of truth. Anyone who has ever used that Internet site will know that anybody can go in and change the material to suit their own definition and belief. So the definition used is not necessarily correct in my view.

Secondly, the writer needs to have a quick reminder of the responsibilities of the levels of government in our nation. The national government is responsible, along with the provinces, to provide a strong stable economic climate which keeps people and businesses working and paying their share of taxes. Then the next step. The federal government is the collector of income tax and other taxes in our system. They then turn over a huge amount of money to the provinces called transfer payments. This is to be used for health, education and social services. Once that money is transferred it is the responsibility of the provincial government to spread it around to help the sick, the poor, the needy, the homeless, our children and families in need, etc. Understanding that then, it becomes ridiculous to try to make out that Stephen Harper is to blame for all the social inequalities in our nation. P. Wardell needs to be taking up the case with the provincial Liberals who bear the major responsibility to cure social inequalities!

But the writer does not stop there and impugns my character that as a minister I was not involved in helping the downtrodden and the poor. Why, P. Wardell doesn’t even know me but assumes that because I somehow fit this person’s, or should I say Wikipedia’s, definition of a right of centre voter I could never care for people like Wardell does. Does the writer know that my wife and I have been foster parents for 45 years, caring for over 155 kids who were sick, homeless and broken and welcomed four of them into our family, three of them native and one severely handicapped? And that is above and beyond what we did as a pastoral team caring for all kinds of broken people! I hope P. Wardell has been as intimately involved with helping people as we have, otherwise don’t cast aspersions on me please.

By the way, the federal Conservative budget is helping people by way of the universal child care benefit, the Canada child tax benefit, the national child benefit supplement, the family tax cuts which for a family of four with preschool and school children could mean a savings of almost $10,000 a year. That is money they can keep in their pockets to spend on what they need. Seniors continue to receive the benefit of income splitting which often means thousands of dollars coming back to people on fixed incomes.

All I can do when I read letters like P. Wardell’s is shake my head and wonder what country they really live in. But again this is election year and anybody can try to stick Harper and the Conservatives as being responsible for everything bad in this nation even if it is not true and not based on facts.

Reed Elley

Chemainus